If you’re one of the 94 percent of employees who would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers, you may be looking for signs of future advancement as you interview for new jobs. This isn’t always easy to spot. However, there are a few clear signs that a company encourages upward mobility, according to the employees of AdRoll Group, a company that prioritizes developing (and retaining) their in-house talent.
As you interview for your next big gig, take a closer look and ask the right questions, looking for the signs of a company that values upward mobility.
1. Management Encourages & Challenges You
Managers need to be your cheerleaders, while also challenging you to step outside of your comfort zone. This was apparent when talking with the AdRoll team about how their managers played crucial roles in their growth.
Head of Customer Operations at AdRoll, Emma Gilroy, explains, “We are genuinely motivated to develop people and see them grow. Even if I have a really amazing team, I’m always looking at what each person’s next step is. While I hate to lose them, I’m always encouraging them to think beyond their current role.”
Along with guidance needs to be trust, according to Darragh Fitzpatrick, VP of Sales & Account Management, who said: “I think the area that was really powerful for me was the level of trust I was given. The thought was they knew me and I’d proven that I could do this role, so I got a chance to move into new opportunities.”
2. They Offer Mentorship Opportunities
A company that uses their top talent to mentor up-and-coming staff shows that they value career development. As Head of Product Strategy at AdRoll, Larissa Licha was fortunate to have a top-level mentor at AdRoll, which made her take a completely different career path than she would have expected.
“During my first year, Valentino [the company’s CTO] was a really key mentor… Having mentorship and the company give me leverage to do things that are not my core competencies, and motivate me to challenge myself, got me to a role that I never thought I would be exposed to.”
To find out whether this is an important part of the culture at the company you're considering, ask about mentorship during your interview.
3. The Culture Is Feedback-Driven
Communication is paramount to successful employee development — employees can’t understand their strengths and weaknesses without the proper feedback. “I have always been encouraged to give feedback and participate in the broader organization,” says Licha. “There are a lot of ways to learn from people in different departments.”
Participating in the feedback conversation was how Licha found her voice, which ultimately allowed her to progress in the company. However, she reminds, you can’t just offer an opinion. “I decided to be noisy about problems but also proactive about coming up with solutions, which gave me visibility.”
An organization with open communication that encourages feedback will help you understand your core competencies so that you can hone your skills and grow in your role.
4. There’s Easy Access to Leadership
While leaders must encourage and challenge their team, they must also be accessible to their staff. Exposure to leadership equates to exposure to the big-picture goals of an organization, which helps you understand the company objectives, as well as where you fit and how you can make a difference moving forward.
Just as the CTO mentored Licha, the other leaders of AdRoll were present for and inspired their staff. She explains: “I had exposure to leadership when I started, which gave me an important, broader perspective.”
If a company is transparent and leaders are intentionally available to staff, this helps in the overall advancement of the entire team.
5. They Value a Growth Mindset
The mindset of growth needs to permeate an entire organization in order to inspire employees like yourself to take on new roles and progress in your career. Emma Gilroy explains AdRoll’s approach: “The people programs we have are really important, but I believe internal mobility stems from a genuine interest in everyone’s growth and development. The best way I can describe it is we encourage employees to always be learning, and always be developing.”
John Shin, Lead Business Operations Manager at AdRoll, also says that he approaches everything with a growth mindset. “The company rewards people who work really hard and are open to learning. Those attributes are [valuable] elements for success.” Show your ability and desire to work within a growth mindset environment to find a company that will allow you to excel.
Look For the Signs of Upward Mobility
Growth-focused companies want to attract top talent and develop them into future leaders. If you want to find an organization that celebrates internal mobility and career growth, use these insider tips to find the right match.